Three years sought for ex-rail execs

Kyodo

Court-appointed lawyers acting as prosecutors are seeking three-year prison sentences for three former presidents of West Japan Railway Co. for neglecting their responsibility to prevent a train derailment in 2005 that killed 107 people.

The lawyers told the Kobe District Court on Wednesday that the three former JR West presidents, Masataka Ide, 77, Shojiro Nanya, 71, and Takeshi Kakiuchi, 68, “cannot evade criminal responsibility” for causing the April 25, 2005, fatal accident as they prioritized the pursuit of profit over safety.

The crash occurred when the Fukuchiyama Line train, which was exceeding the speed limit on a sharp curve, jumped the tracks and slammed into a condominium high-rise in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. It was believed the driver, who was among the dead, was trying to make up for lost time to avoid punishment. The other 106 people killed were passengers.